Joyce L. Arnold, Liberally Independent, Queer Talk, equality activist, writer.
Call it a Queer kick-off to the Pride month of June: Texas primary voters chose Mary Gonzales, an out Latina, as the Democratic nominee for State House District 75, in El Paso County. With no Republican challenger, Gonzales will become the first out lesbian, and only the second out LGBT individual, to serve in the Texas Legislature. The first was former State Rep. Glen Maxey (D), who served from 1991 to 2003. Gonzales’ election will reduce the number of state legislatures around the nation with no openly LGBT representatives, currently at 17.
In addition to the win by Gonzales, out and Latina Lupe Valdez was once again re-elected as Dallas County Sheriff, and out Rosemary Lehmber was re-elected as Travis County (that’s Austin) District Attorney. It wasn’t all good news for equality advocates, of course, but the wins are three more steps into equality that are taking place around the nation.
Gonzales, Valdez and Lehmber were all supported by the The Lesbian and Gay Victory Fund, which “works to elect LGBT leaders to public office for one simple reason. They change America’s politics.” Houston mayor Annise Parker is another Texas Elected who is out, and who was supported by the Victory Fund.
It’s encouraging that “openly” LGBTs are being elected in many states and to many different offices. In 2012, for example, only considering candidates supported by the Victory Fund who have won races:
Marcus Brandon, North Carolina, District 60, State House (Primary)
Brian Sims, Pennsylvania, District 182, State House (Primary)
Patty Sheehan, Orlando, Florida, City Council
Tom Kovach, Norman, Oklahoma, City Council
Debra Shore, Chicago, Illinois, Water Reclamation Commission
Al McAffrey, Oklahoma, District 46, State Senate (General)
Susan Allen, Minnesota, District 61B, State House (General)
We need people who will work for equality in every level of government, people who will help “change America’s politics.” The three victories in Texas, and those listed above from the Victory Fund, are indications we’re slowly getting there.
And then there are indications that lots of work remains. This one is, to say the least, very sad, because there’s a child involved, a child who seems to have been taught that “homos” don’t “make it to heaven.” The video has “gone viral.”
The congregation in the church, which has been identified as the Apostolic Truth Tabernacle Church in Greensburg, Ind., gives a standing ovation after the child sings, ‘I know the Bible’s right, somebody’s wrong…ain’t no homos gonna make it to heaven.’
The HuffPo piece observes that at LGBT blogs such as Towleroad and Joe. My. God., which have posted the video, it’s been “noted that the child was undoubtedly coached by adults for his performance.” Coached by adults to judge the “homos,” applauded by adults for his little song, which surely was written by an adult. The HuffPo post continues:
… author Anne Rice also posted the video to her Facebook page, noting, ‘In this country, Christians can teach toddlers to hate and to persecute, and we, through the automatic tax exemption for churches, foot the bill.’
I’d just add a clarification: some Christians do this. Not all. I’m confident there were Christians in El Paso who voted for Mary Gonzales; and Christians in Dallas County who voted for Lupe Valdez; and more in Travis County who voted for Rosemary Lehmber.
But without a doubt, there are those who, as a part of their expression of their understanding of the Christian faith, do things like teach a child to hate, and give him a standing ovation for singing about it.
At the HuffPo link you can find several other videos which are “anti-gay, right-wing declarations.” I couldn’t handle more than this one.
Pride Month 2012 brings LGBT’s and allies a lot of “moving ahead” encouragement. It also comes, though, with some rather sad examples of how much more work we have to do.